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February 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM

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Reichert, Murray make 3rd attempt at Alpine Lakes expansion

Posted by Kyung M. Song

Updated at 4 p.m.

WASHINGTON -- Less than two months after their bill's demise in the Senate, Rep. Dave Reichert and Sen. Patty Murray are making a third go at expanding the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.

Murray and Reichert on Thursday reintroduced the bicameral, bipartisan legislation. It calls for enlarging the popular recreational destination east of Seattle by 22,000 acres. It also would designate the Pratt River and the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River as wild and scenic, preserving it from development.

Reichert, R-Auburn, originally introduced the bill in late 2007, but it failed to advance in that Congress. He resurrected the bill last year with Democrat Murray. The House passed the bill by a voice vote in March. But it died in the Senate on Dec. 22, the last day of the 111th Congress.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell and by Reps. Norm Dicks, Jay Inslee, Jim McDermott and Adam Smith, all Democrats.

In statement, Reichert said: "Senator Murray and I have renewed our vow to work hard to move this proposal through the 112th Congress and see it signed into law."

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, generally has been wary of granting wilderness designations, which put development and motorized vehicles off limits. But he agreed to let Reichert's bill advance out of his committee last year.

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